How Local is the Impact of a Specific Learning Difficulty on Premature Children's Evaluation of Their Own Competence?


Requests for reprints to: Sheila Henderson, Department of Psychology and Special Education Needs, Institute of Education, 25 Woburn Square, London WC1H OAA, U.K.


The aim of this study was to determine whether children's perceptions of their own competence levels reflected their actual strengths and weaknesses (Specificity Hypothesis) or transcended these (Generality Hypothesis). Harter and Pike's measure of self-perception was administered to 163 prematurely born 6-year-olds with or without motor co-ordination and/or reading problems. Associations between children's self-perceptions and their scores on standardised tests of motor co-ordination and reading were assessed in three distinct ways. These analyses produced converging results: self-perceptions of physical competence were associated specifically with performance on the Movement ABC Test, and self-perceptions of cognitive competence were associated specifically with performance on the BAS Word Reading Scale. Our results support the Specificity Hypothesis.